cataclysm

noun

cat·​a·​clysm ˈka-tə-ˌkli-zəm How to pronounce cataclysm (audio)
1
2
3
: a momentous and violent event marked by overwhelming upheaval and demolition
broadly : an event that brings great changes
an international economic cataclysm
cataclysmal adjective
or cataclysmic
cataclysmically adverb

Example Sentences

floods, earthquakes, and other cataclysms The country barely survived the cataclysm of war. The revolution could result in worldwide cataclysm.
Recent Examples on the Web The cataclysm of 2008 discredited an entire way of economic thinking. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2022 Divided by war, strained by shortages, and faced with the cataclysm of global warming, dozens of world leaders convened at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday for the first full, in-person General Assembly since the pandemic began. Alan Yuhas, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Sep. 2022 Beyond the cataclysm of the birth of modern warfare, major economies had their first brush with hyperinflation and the economic chaos that ensued. Will Daniel, Fortune, 16 July 2022 Beyond the logistics lay a bigger question: What kind of stories would emerge from the horror, the social cataclysm and all the deeply personal fallout caused by a pandemic? Mary Mcnamara, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022 The limited series depicts a disruption in the world’s supply of petroleum, setting off a major energy crisis and fears of global cataclysm. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 7 Sep. 2022 In the moment of cataclysm, there’s little that a homeowner can do to protect a house from a hurricane, flood, earthquake, or tornado. Ingfei Chen, The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 2022 Thousands of families have poured out of the Russian side as fighting has raged around the nearby Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant under Russian control, raising the specter of a cataclysm at Europe’s largest atomic energy facility. Ievgeniia Sivorka, Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2022 Fogerty wrote all three of them right around the original Earth Day, and each one works weather metaphors almost too on-the-nose for the climate-change cataclysm at hand. David Cantwell, The New Yorker, 17 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cataclysm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

French cataclysme, from Latin cataclysmos, from Greek kataklysmos, from kataklyzein to inundate, from kata- + klyzein to wash — more at clyster

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cataclysm was in 1599

Dictionary Entries Near cataclysm

Cite this Entry

“Cataclysm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cataclysm. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

cataclysm

noun

cat·​a·​clysm ˈkat-ə-ˌkliz-əm How to pronounce cataclysm (audio)
1
: a great flood
2
: a violent and destructive natural event (as an earthquake)
3
: a violent social or political change
cataclysmal adjective
or cataclysmic

More from Merriam-Webster on cataclysm

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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